Pain Management Training for Iowa Doctors Questioned

Nov 16, 2015

A psychiatrist at Veterans Hospital in Iowa City says more training in pain management may be needed for doctors getting licensed to practice in Iowa.  

At a drug abuse symposium in Iowa City last week, Dr. Anthony Miller discussed the overprescribing of pain medicine that’s become common in American medicine since the 1990’s.      

Miller says the Iowa Board of Medicine has taken some steps to inform doctors of the risks of prescribing opioids.

“A key piece of safe subscribers is making sure physicians and other prescribers are educated in the state of Iowa,” Miller says.   “The board of Medicine now requires that to get a medical license you have to get some training in pain management.”

Miller says opioid prescriptions tripled in Iowa between 1997 and 2007.   He says opioids are being prescribed for more conditions than in the past, including arthritis, back pain, and fibromyalgia.  

He says training requirements for Iowa prescribers are minimal.

“It can be two hours every five years so it's not a lot and there's not a lot of requirement on what that has to include,” Miller says.

Miller says the board sent all prescribers a booklet on responsible prescribing.

Police, prosecutors, and medical professionals attended the UI symposium.    Experts from all over the country addressed the growing problem of addiction to opioids, including heroin.